Harf Spars With AP Reporter

September 11, 2014

Deputy State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf had a tense exchange with AP reporter Matt Lee after he suggested the Obama administration's attempt to put together a coalition to combat ISIL was a "flailing effort."

After Lee pointed out that Germany and Turkey have both backed out of launching airstrikes, Harf snapped back:

Why do you always focus on what people say they won't do instead of the plethora of things they've said they will do? Why is that what you focus on?  That's actually not an unfair question, I don't think, when we focus on our effort here. In terms of the Saudis, we're in discussions with them about this specific program that the president asked for funding for. They have agreed to help with part of it...obviously we can get more details out later as those are hashed out.

Lee chuckled at the combative tone of her monologue, following up her description of the current U.S.-Saudi effort to train Syrian moderates with a question about the plan being "not fully cooked yet."

"Well, the discussions are ongoing. The secretary is on the ground in Jeddah and is meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia this evening, so let's wait," Harf said."I know there's a desire for everything to happen in real time, but let's wait and see how those meetings go, but they've agreed to play a role here in some way."

"Everything does happen in real time, Marie," Lee responded.

Published under: Islamic State , Marie Harf